First of all, I would like to thank Grover Cleveland for inviting me to guest-blog this week. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to write the words “I would like to thank Grover Cleveland,” which I would not have predicted I’d ever have reason to do. I thought I would start with some reflections, and will follow up with longer posts. It will be interesting to participate in a blog again: I used to blog at Liberty and Power, but a couple years ago they switched to a platform that garbled comments threads and occasionally ate my posts, and the site was overrun with pop-up ads. But around the same time I was souring on L&P (the platform, not the co-bloggers), I was starting to use Facebook more for sharing and commenting on links pertaining to political philosophy and current events. But that’s not exactly the same thing, since FB threads are a limited group, whereas blogs are open to the public. So, for the week at least, I’m back. By the way, for those of you who were wondering, my first name is pronounced as if it were the more-conventional “Ian.”
I expect I’ll be engaging in some discussion of gun laws, women in combat, immigration, capitalism and the economy. I will likely talk about rights – both constitutional rights and natural rights – and where I see the place of individual liberty. I’ve put a lot of energy into thinking about rights – what they are, what philosophical justifications might ground them, what their role in the social order is. This means I get to argue not only with people who reject the libertarian/classical-liberal project, but also with people who embrace it for different reasons than I do. I am not a political junkie or policy wonk. I used to be: I was the guy who went to the bookstore to buy the Tower Commission report after watching hours of televised coverage of the Iran-Contra hearings. I watched Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week as if it were my religion. But my interest is in applying the philosophical questions of justification and first principles to what’s going on. That’s not to say that I’m unconcerned with the law: I think it matters whether a proposed law is unconstitutional, but I’ll also question whether it’s right. Pet peeve: double-standards and hypocrisy, whether from left or right. So: open borders or closed? Gun bans or gun ownership? Women in combat? TSA, love or hate? Rights or social justice as a criterion for classical-liberalism? Why rights at all? Deleting the state? Stay tuned.